The last four weeks of the 2018 CFL season saw the Calgary Stampeders and the Edmonton Eskimos go undefeated, and the low Montreal Alouettes go winless. There was also multiple last-second comeback wins, a plethora of trades, disappointing quarterback performances, and a bizarre ongoing comeback attempt from Terrell Owens.
The Stampeders are still undefeated after seven contests and are posting some otherworldly defensive numbers while winning football games. The Stamps are averaging 12.29 points per game against, 72.29 rushing yards per game against, 186.43 passing yards per game against, and 272 total yards per game against. Calgary sits first in all of those team statistics, by a lengthy margin too. Calgary has the second-highest scoring offence in the league too.
C.J. Gable’s touchdown
C.J. Gable’s touchdown in Edmonton’s 44-23 Week 7 win in Montreal is maybe the play of the year as of today.
.@CJ_Gable makes a tremendous one-hand catch to score Edmonton’s second touchdown in as many drives!#CFLGameDay #TNF | 17-10 @EdmontonEsks pic.twitter.com/AYMHlN6N8o
— CFL on TSN (@CFLonTSN) July 27, 2018
After recording 438 receiving yards in the last four weeks, Saunders now sits second in the league in yards. A strangely identical pair of five-catch, 67-yard performances in a home-and-home with Saskatchewan were Saunders’ worst outings last month. Saunders torched Ottawa for 154 yards two weeks ago and most recently reeled in 150 yards on seven catches in Montreal, scoring a touchdown in each of his last two games.
In Week 5 the B.C. Lions came back from a 17-point deficit late in the third quarter to go on and win 20-17 on a walk-off field goal versus the Bombers. In Week 6, Trevor Harris engineered a 75-yard touchdown drive with under two minutes to go, giving Ottawa a late win versus the Lions. But Week 8 saw the most improbable comeback. Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson saw his Argonauts squad down 38-14 with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter. But the impossible happened when Bethel-Thompson hit Armanti Edwards for a 23-yard game-winning touchdown in the dying seconds, and the Argos somehow won 42-41.
Trades, lots of trades
Shawn Lemon, Adarius Bowman, T.J. Heath, Ryan Bomben, Jamaal Westerman, Toby Washington, Landon Rice, Chris Williams, and of course, Johnny Manziel have all been traded in the past four weeks. Trades generate buzz and attention, especially when they are the magnitude of the Manziel blockbuster. Plus, Manziel needed to start football games sooner than later, and we all got to see him fail miserably in his CFL debut last week.
Ward owns a league-best 95.7% field goal percentage. The rookie kicker connected on all 15 of his attempts during weeks five through eight, including a superb seven-for-seven game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a game that Ward’s Redblacks won 21-15 with Ward scoring all 21 points.
The Montreal Alouettes early lead at McMahon Stadium
In Week 6, the Montreal Alouettes went into Calgary as 20-point underdogs. Early in the first quarter, Montreal grabbed the first lead of the of the game on a beloved rouge. The Alouettes went on to lose by 17 (they covered!), sparking this epic headline from 3DownNation.
#AlsMTL blow 1-0 lead, lose to #CalStampedershttps://t.co/oobrNWc7v2 pic.twitter.com/6qRQkZRk3J
— 3DownNation (@3DownNation) July 22, 2018
Aside from Johnny Manziel, Franklin was seen by many as the next star pivot in the CFL. But Franklin differs from Manziel in terms of experience – this is the former’s fourth CFL season. After sitting behind Mike Reilly for three seasons, Franklin finally got his chance to start when his new team, Toronto, saw franchise quarterback Ricky Ray go down with a season-ending neck injury. From there Franklin started four games, failing to record a 300-yard game and tossing just one touchdown and six interceptions. Franklin is now benched in favour of the aforementioned Bethel-Thompson, who just roasted an above-average Redblacks’ defence in his CFL debut. Things are not looking up for Franklin.
Greg Ellingson had a bad last four weeks. While part of this is due to the stellar month by Brad Sinopoli, Ellingson is one of the top receivers in the game, but has failed to have a game of more than 40 yards in his last four outings. Ellingson also failed to haul in a touchdown from weeks five to eight and has just one on the season. The star receiver is on pace for 959 yards and two touchdowns this season, significantly lower than the 1,459 yards and 12 touchdowns he had in 2017.
Naaman Roosevelt and Caleb Holley
Saskatchewan’s supposed star-studded receiving corps has been non-existent. With Duron Carter on defence and Zach Collaros on the six-game injured list, such can be expected. Roosevelt had one game of more than 40 yards in his last four, while Holley is still looking for his first touchdown of 2018 and had only four catches in his last four games. Montreal’s Tyrell Sutton and Eugene Lewis each have more yards than both of Saskatchewan’s top pass-catches, I mean c’mon.
In the past month, the 44-year old has been added to Edmonton’s negotiation list, dropped after initiating his 10-day contract window, and has worked out for the Saskatchewan Roughriders (speaking of Riders’ receivers). This workout makes a Chris Jones quote in June quite interesting…
Chris Jones in mid-June, after releasing veteran receivers Rob Bagg, Bakari Grant and Chad Owens: “It’s a young man’s game, unfortunately.” Chris Jones on Sunday: Works out Terrell Owens, 44.
— Rob Vanstone (@robvanstone) August 6, 2018
The Alouettes blew up their roster, adding Johnny Manziel, Adarius Bowman and T.J. Heath. Despite none of those acquisitions playing more than one game, the Als went winless in July, now sitting at 1-6. A Week 8 50-11 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats revealed that the Als have not gotten any more competitive.
Johnny Football, and his doubters
Johnny Manziel’s first CFL start went about as bad as imaginable. His team lost by 39, Johnny threw for 104 yards, zero touchdowns, four interceptions, and he was pulled in favour of Vernon Adams Jr. But to say Manziel is a bum and will not succeed at this point is silly. Manziel has only practiced a handful of times with his new club. Montreal forced Manziel into the starting gig as a result of desperation and added pressure from the media. I was never leading the Johnny Manziel fan club, but counting him out after one start is just wrong.
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